The Health Benefits of Linden

The flowers of this herb are said to have sedative powers

Linden tea

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman  

In This Article

If you live in North America, you've probably seen neighborhood streets lined with linden trees. The tall, leafy, deciduous giants are common throughout the country but they're also grown throughout Europe and Asia. Linden trees may live for up to 1,000 years. Linden leaves have a distinctive heart shape and the light yellow flowers are fragrant and delicate.

For hundreds of years, people have used parts of the linden tree, particularly the leaves, flowers, wood, and bark for medicinal purposes, including as a calming agent and sedative. Tinctures, teas, and other beverages may call for ingredients from one of two different linden trees: Tilia cordata, the small-leafed European linden (also known as a winter linden), or Tilia platyphyllos, also known as the summer linden.

Besides its medicinal uses, linden tea is also known for its agreeable taste. The tea can be consumed hot or cold and has a strong sweet and floral flavor.

Health Benefits

Anecdotal reports of linden benefits are widely promoted. Some believe the herb can treat:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleeplessness
  • Indigestion
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Allergies
  • Tense muscles
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation
  • Excessive sweating/perspiration
  • Vomiting

According to a report from the University of Michigan, the active ingredients in linden are flavonoids, glycosides (a compound formed from a simple sugar that's soluble in water), and possibly a volatile oil (also called "essential oils" or rapidly evaporating oils).

These ingredients have been shown to reduce anxiety in mice and some limited clinical trials have shown that they may relieve upset stomach, provide antispasmodic benefits (particularly in the intestines), and relieve excess gas. Still, most experts agree that there's insufficient evidence to provide strong support for these health benefits in humans.

Linden flower has been approved by Germany's Commission E, the country's herbal regulatory agency, for the treatment of colds and coughs. The herb is said to promote a healthy fever and the immune system's ability to fight infection, which may explain its usefulness, though this use is supported by minimal scientific evidence.

Selection, Preparation, & Storage

Linden tea bags or loose leaf tea can be purchased in many grocery stores, health markets, and online. Many large tea brands make linden flower tea.

If you choose not to use the store-bought variety, there are different ways to prepare linden tea at home. Most tea makers suggest using linden flower, although some recipes call for the bark or the leaves. Linden tea is prepared by steeping two to three teaspoons of flowers in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Several cups per day are recommended. 

Possible Side Effects

Linden leaf is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. There are no established supplement or food interactions with this herb. The Therapeutic Research Center states that it's safe for most people to consume orally and appropriately in amounts normally found in foods. The organization does recommend, however, that pregnant and nursing women avoid using the herb because there are insufficient data regarding its safety. It also advises that the herb may cause problems for people taking lithium and that those with cardiovascular disease exercise caution when using linden leaf. In experimental animal tests, decreases in blood pressure and increases in heart rate were seen.

Linden may cause drowsiness, so don't drive a car or operate heavy machinery after ingesting it. To avoid potentially dangerous interactions, the herb should not be taken with sedative drugs, herbs or medications that could lower blood pressure, or medications to increase blood pressure.

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Article Sources

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  1. Rodriguez-fragoso L, Reyes-esparza J, Burchiel SW, Herrera-ruiz D, Torres E. Risks and benefits of commonly used herbal medicines in Mexico. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2008;227(1):125-35. doi:10.1016/j.taap.2007.10.005

  2. Substances Generally Recognized as Safe. Linden flowers. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. July 10, 2019

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